Friday, October 16, 2009

News - 10/16/09...

Wanna buy Max Fleischer’s animation desk?

Ahhh… the things you’ll find on Craigslist.

According to the seller, Felix the Cat (comic, strip AND animation) was created on this very table (I have no actual proof of this, though times/dates/people involved would point this towards the truth). This table was also used by Famous artists Joseph “Joe” Oriolo and Otto Messmer (as evidenced by notes on the animation disc’s backside.)”

Hmmm… maybe Casper the Friendly Ghost was created on this desk too. The seller certainly sounds “friendly”. Bid on it here.

(Thanks, Bob Foster)

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Wild Things Adaptation Pounces At Last

The long-awaited movie adaptation of the classic children’s book Where the Wild Things Are roars into theaters as the weekend’s widest opener.

The long-awaited movie — based on the book by Maurice Sendak, directed by Spike Jonze and released by Warner Bros. — opens at more than 3,700 cinemas. It features visual effects from Jim Henson's Creature Shop, Rising Sun Pictures, Animal Logic, Digital Pictures Iloura, Framestore, Quantum Creation FX and Eyetronics.

Also new in theaters is the thriller Law Abiding Citizen, starring Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler. Released by Overture Films, it’s opening in more than 2,800 cinemas. Also new is the horror film The Stepfather from Sony/Screen Gems, opening at more than 2,700 theaters.

Among holdovers, Couples Retreat, Zombieland and the surging Paranormal Activity are expected to do well. Disney-Pixar’s double feature release of the 3-D versions of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 also is hanging around, as is Sony’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Gobelins Students Light Up Le Phare

More masterful stuff today from Gobelins, the exceedingly strong animation school in Paris. Le Phare (The Lighthouse Keeper), introduces us to a humongous bug, a clumsy Keeper and an enormous problem. The audio experience alone is exceptional, but the light/dark values throughout the film and the subtle acting is all top-notch. The film is the creation of David Francois, Rony Hotin, Jérémie Moreau, Baptiste Rogron, Gaëlle Thierry and Maïlys Vallad.

Vigortime Unearths PSA For Greenpeace

Director Doug Schiff brought this alarming Greenpeace PSA to life along with the animators at Chinese animation studio Vigortime. Titled Coal Story, the ad plays off the theme “Coal takes more than it gives.” The spot was recently shortlisted at the Spikes Awards, the Asian advertising fest. Ogilvy Beijing led the creative effort.

Spotted at

Butters the Pimp in New South Park Episode

Last night’s South Park episode, Butters’ Bottom Bitch, cast Butters in the role of a playground pimp. Hysterial stuff….

This Is It: Boivin’s Michael Jackson Animation

A while back, Canadian stop-motion animator Patrick Boivin invited his audience to choose which characters should square off in a fight. The result pits Michael Jackson vs. Mr. Bean.

Fox Orders Full Second Season of Cleveland

Pleased with the show’s ratings since its premiere only three weeks ago, Fox has picked up a full second-season order of The Cleveland Show.

The show, which was spun off of Fox’s hit Family Guy, had already had a full 22-episode order for its current, first season as well as the first 13 of a second season. The pickup brings the total number of episodes ordered to 44.

The Cleveland Show has scored an average rating of 4.5 and share of 11 with adults 18-49 and 9 million viewers overall, according to Variety.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Animation Work Key Part of MOMA’s Burton Exhibition

Tim Burton’s animation work will be a major element of the upcoming Film Benefit gala benefit and exhibition honoring the filmmaker at New York’s famed Museum of Modern Art.

The exhibition, which runs Nov. 22 to April 26, will showcase work from the director’s entire career, from childhood drawings through sketches, drawings, paintings, storyboards, maquettes costumes and other elements created for Burton’s films.

Among them will be a number of works spotlighting Burton’s animation career, from his time as a student at CalArts, where he made his graduate project film The Stalk of the Celery Monster in 1979 to his work as an in-betweener at Disney on such projects as The Fox and the Hound. It also will show his early work on the film that became The Nightmare Before Christmas, which Burton produced.

The exhibition also will feature screenings of all of Burton’s films, which include Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Big Fish, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the forthcoming Alice in Wonderland.

The exhibition will kick off with a gala benefit dinner on Nov. 17. Tables for the Film Benefit are available for $75,000, $50,000, and $25,000; individual tickets cost $5,000 and $2,500 per person. Tables and individual tickets may be reserved by calling (212) 708-9402 or e-mail

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Prime Focus Adds Welch to Executive Suite

Prime Focus has hired veteran entertainment industry executive O.D. Welch as its COO for North America, assigning him responsibility for the company’s post-production and visual effects unites.

Welch’s portfolio will include Prime Focus facilities in Los Angeles, New York, Winnipeg and Vancouver. He will work with CEO of post-production Rob Hummel and CEO of visual effects Michael Fink to evolve and grow the companies business in these fields.

Welch has more than 20 years of experience managing entertainment companies. Highlights of his work history include stints at the Computer Café Group, consulting firm EMC, and 525 Studios where he was a senior executive for Liberty Media and Virgin Entertainment.

“We have handpicked the industry’s best and brightest to expand our global presence, and O.D. is no exception,” said Namit Malhotra, founder of Prime Focus. “He brings unparalleled entertainment business savvy and executive-level experience with some of the most reputable projects and companies in the industry.”

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Chorion Hooks Simon & Schuster U.K. on Octonauts

Simon & Schuster U.K. has struck a licensing deal with Chorion to publish a full line of tie-in books based on the preschool animated series The Octonauts.

The publisher’s rights cover the United Kingdom and Commonwealth territories for the series, which has been pre-sold to CBeebies in the U.K., TF1 in France and ABC in Australia for a planned 2010 premiere.

The deal covers picture books, novelties, activity and ebooks based on the preschooler show, which features a team of heroes who dive into action wherever there is trouble under sea in a fleet of cool aquatic vehicles.

“We fell hook, line and sinker for The Octonauts, with its rare combination of originality as well as strong commercial appeal,” says Ingrid Selberg, publishing director of Simon & Schuster Children’s Books U.K. “The adorable characters, action packed storylines, the beautiful underwater world with its exciting vessels, missions and explorations – offer a whole world of creative publishing opportunities.”

Executive produced by Emmy-winning writer Stephanie Simpson and Chorion’s senior VP of creative Kurt Mueller, the animated series (52 x 11 min. plus 1 x 22 min. special) is currently in production and made its international debut at MIPCOM in Cannes.

The HD CGI animation is being produced by Oscar-nominated Brown Bag Films, which also produces Chorion’s Olivia and Noddy in Toyland.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Chaotic Products Set for France, Israel

A pair of deals forged by 4Kids Entertainment and Chaotic USA will bring the Chaotic trading-card game and TV series to broad lines of licensed products in France and Israel.

The deal in France is with Tennessee S.A., which will produce a back-to-school line of Chaotic-branded products including backpacks, school bags, DJ bags, pencil boxes, pilot bags and handle bags. The TV series launched earlier this year on Gulli TV and has built a strong following.

In Israel, Mitos International will produce a line of branded apparel and footwear that includes pants, sweatpants, tops, sweaters, sweatshirts, shirts, coats, jackets, t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, boots, sneakers, casual shoes, sandals, winter slippers and flip flops. The line is scheduled to launch in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza in the first quarter of 2010.

The series has been airing in Israel on Noga TV.

“These latest deals are evidence of the growing popularity of Chaotic in France and Israel,” said Sandra Vauthier-Cellier, managing director of 4Kids Entertainment International. ”We look forward to building on this success and further developing the brand across all sectors locally and globally.”

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

New "Astro Boy" Images Released

Comic Book Resources has posted three exclusive new stills from Astro Boy, Imagi Animation Studios' upcoming CGI adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's seminal manga and anime series. IGN has also updated its screenshot gallery with 24 new stills, including several of the voice actors who are in the movie, including Nathan Lane and Donald Sutherland.

Astro Boy opens in North America on October 23, 2009.

Click on the images below to see them MUCH bigger.

Fox Developing Animated Comedy from Jonah Hill

Variety reports that Fox is developing an animated comedy with actor Jonah Hill (Superbad), who will also provide a voice for the show. The series is to center on "a 7-year-old socialite who acts and talks like an adult -- and finds himself out of his element when forced to attend public school."

Laying Down Enough Chips

A commenter below says: "If you lay down enough chips ... (you produce films that are successful)" ... or something.

That's a variant of the ancient and well-loved saying: "Put enough monkeys in front of enough typewriters, and one will produce the works of Shakespeare." ...

Mais non ....

Nitwits don't run large enterprises for very long because they tend to run those enterprises into the ground. It becomes fairly obvious, fairly fast, that these folks aren't up to the job and they get replaced. Even the competent, and borderline competent, often have short runs. The market is an unforgiving mistress.

What does happen -- further down the food chain -- is that middle managers are often promoted out of their area of competence and remain in place for years because the boss who promoted them doesn't want to admit her or his mistake.

But at the top? Life is often brutal, ruthless and short (much like a peasant's existence under Genghis Khan).

But let's crank it back to specifics; specifically, the movie industry. I give you, as Exhibit One, the Bubble Factory.

The founder of the Bubble Factory was Sidney J. Sheinberg, the respected longtime president of MCA Inc., who ran that company for decades with Lew Wasserman, the chairman, and an eminence grise in Hollywood ...

Mr. Sheinberg started the Bubble Factory with his two sons, Jon, 39, a former talent agent and studio executive, and Bill, 36, a lawyer and former television executive. The production company was fully financed by Seagram.

Even by Hollywood's lavish standards, the deal forming the Bubble Factory was, as Mr. Sheinberg told The Los Angeles Times in April,
''the most lucrative afforded an autonomous entity by a studio.'' Most details of the deal were never disclosed. But it included an extraordinary provision that gave the Bubble Factory the right to give a green light to three to four pictures a year, for five years, each costing $35 million to $40 million, without studio approval ...

So. Dear old Sid (et famille) was given plenty of chips. In fact, he was pretty much given a blank check, with which he could return to the cashier's cage again and again.

And what happened?

One flop followed another: ''Flipper,'' grossed $20 million; ''McHale's Navy,'' about $4 million; ''That Old Feeling,'' about $16 million. At Sony, the Bubble Factory produced ''The Pest,'' which grossed $3.6 million. The company also has a Tim Allen comedy, ''For Richer or Poorer,'' which will be released by Universal later this year ...

Anybody remember For Richer or Poorer? I thought not. And guess what happened to the Bubble Factory? As the New York Times wrote twelve years ago:

'BUBBLE POPS AT U'' shouted the front-page headline in The Daily Variety last week. To the world outside Hollywood, the words were gobbledygook. In Hollywood, the headline made perfect sense and confirmed the rumors: the Bubble Factory, a two-year-old production company, was severing its ties to Universal Pictures ....

Let's recap: The Bubble Factory was a company with money, prestige and freedom. It ended up failing because it wasn't headed by a person that was able to create entertainment that resonated with the people who went to the movies.

In the 1930s, producers thought they could replicate Walt Disney's success by hiring away his staff. An obvious idea, but one that didn't pan out too well. In the nineties, the money men believed that Sid Sheinberg, who had helped launch Stephen Spielberg and worked at Lew Wasserman's side to build a movie and television empire, could create motion pictures that people would flock to see. Turned out they were wrong again.

There's a reason that only a chosen few are showered with riches when they deliver hit features. Few can do it with consistency. It takes, in the final analysis, something more than an infinite number of poker chips or lots of monkeys at many typewriters. It's a matter of talent ... and timing ... and being in sync with popular tastes.

You don't have those qualities, all the chips in the world won't make you Master of the Movie Universe.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Handicapping the Oscar Race

The L.A. Times says the "Best Animated Feature" nominees will be Up and everybody else:

A lot will depend on what makes the official list, which will be revealed in mid-November. Deadline for entries is Nov. 2. Thereafter, a screening committee views submitted fare, grading the films with scores 10 (best) to 6 (poor). Movies with an average score of 7.5 or better are eligible for nomination.

The Times thinks Oscar dynamics are changing:

Animated films have been gaining esteem among Oscar voters in recent years. Until the early 1990s, none was ever nominated for best screenplay, but five animated movies pulled off screenplay bids since: "Wall-E" (2008), "Ratatouille" (2007), "The Incredibles" (2004), "Finding Nemo" (2003) and "Toy Story" (1995).

Since screenplay contenders often score noms for best picture too, it looks like an animated movie may cross over soon ....

Nominations are one thing. Actual awards are another. I don't see animated films winning any writing or Best Picture Oscars anytime before the turn of the next century. I just can't see actors voting for a movie with no actors in it. And I can't see writers giving the nod to a film not written under a WGA contract, no matter how good it is.

Maybe I'm too much of a cynic. I would really like to be wrong.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Production Boards

Once every ten years this issue comes up, so I roll it out here.

The TAG contract has two similar-sounding classifications.

One is "Production Board."

The other is "Storyboard."

Here's the difference between the two classifications ...

Storyboard is a classification used in animated features. Storyboards are single drawings pinned up on a cork board and are usually closeups or medium shots used for continuity in a long form cartoon. They don't incorporate layouts or camera moves.

Production boards are two or three panel-type drawings on big sheets of paper with dialogue and action written below them on the production board sheet. The drawings contain camera directions, indications of action, and down-sized layouts. They also have the characters in longshot, medium shot or closeup, as needs dictate.

Here's an example of a Production board, grabbed off the intertubes, produced by Film Roman for Marvel ... long before Disney bought them.

The Production Board rate is a footnote in the contract with three (***) astericks that reads:

"Producer agrees to pay to the Production board classification the key rate of 15% above minimum at all times as provided."

What this means is that production board artists have minimums 15% above those for storyboard artists ... because they are doing all those extra little goodies: layouts, camera directions, actions for the characters.

Don't ask me why the classification is a footnote, because I have no idea. It was that way when I arrived. And if I'd had my wits about me three months ago during contract negotiations, I would have proposed that it stop being a footnote and start being an actual classification in the body of the contract.

So much clearer.

The reason I bring this up now is because studios -- every once in a while -- use the storyboard rate when it's Production board that's the correct choice. Rule of thumb: Production board = teevee; Storyboard = feature.

Thank you for your time.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

"Metalocalypse" Season 3 Premieres on November 8, 2009

The third season premiere of Metalocalypse will debut on Adult Swim on Sunday, November 8, 2009, at 12:30 AM (Eastern/Pacific). The most amazing metal band ever created will kick off their third season with an episode where they have to manage themselves. Guest stars will include Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and Slash.

"Courage the Cowardly Dog" Comes to Boomerang on October 19, 2009

Courage the Cowardly Dog will be added to Boomerang starting on Monday, October 19, 2009, airing Monday through Saturday at 9:00 PM (Eastern). The show will be aired from the very beginning, with a four-hour mini-marathon scheduled for Halloween, October 31, 2009, from 7:00 - 11:00 PM (Eastern).

Brett Ratner Offers Heated Response To 'X-Men: The Last Stand' Detractors

Comic book fans that have a bone to pick with "X-Men: The Last Stand" director Brett Ratner might be in for a bit of a shock—the filmmaker has a bone to pick with them, too.

According to Digital Spy, Ratner took a last stand of his own against the various "comic book geeks" that have spoken out against his past work on the "X-Men" franchise. The director has an issue with the idea that he destroyed the Marvel property, particularly because the success of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" says otherwise.

"If I buried the franchise how the f--- did they make a 'Wolverine'?" Ratner argued. "I mean, that's ridiculous. And they're making three other f---ing 'X-Men' movies. Mine kept the franchise alive!"

But Ratner's tirade didn't end there, as the once-rumored "Conan" director declared that there's simply no way to satisfy the comic book community.

"You can't make these people happy," he said. "I'm kind of the anti-Christ to these comic book geeks. Every single person that wrote s--- went to see that movie multiple times because a movie doesn't gross [$200 something million] unless people go to see it more than once."

"Every single person who said, 'I'm never seeing that movie,' they were the first ones there," he continued. "What are they concerned about? It's out of the filmmaker's hands. A film is a collaborative effort. How's a person sitting at home going to worry about how a movie is going to turn out to be?"

Clearly, Ratner is more than entitled to his opinion. Heck, I'd be a little miffed too if I had scores of comic book enthusiasts barking up my tree—but even so, Ratner should reconsider those words if he wants his target audience to support his eventual "Youngblood" adaptation.

Gavin Hood 'Extremely Interested' In Directing 'Wolverine' Sequel

"X-Men Origins: Wolverine" director Gavin Hood "has no idea" if he will be returning for the much anticipated sequel with Hugh Jackman.

In an interview with Rotten Tomatoes, Hood reiterated his desire to revisit “Wolverine” but cautioned that the projeItalicct is far from certain.

“All that's happened at the moment is that the studio has just commissioned the script for ‘Wolverine 2’ to be written,” Hood explained. “Whether that film will ever get made will depend on so many factors -- whether the studio likes the script, whether they find a director who responds to the script. Might that be me? Sure, I'd be extremely interested and thrilled if they were to send it to me.”

Director Bryan Singer has also recently expressed his interest in returning to the “X-Men” film franchise. With screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie already attached to the “Wolverine” sequel, popular speculation has Singer possibly directing that film to reunite with his “Usual Suspects” collaborator.

During the interview, Hood also expressed his satisfaction that the "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" Blu-ray disc contains a deleted scene in which Wolverine voluntarily has his memory wiped.

“I'm very pleased that on the Blu-ray disc there's a particular scene that I was attached to that didn't make it into the movie,” Hood said. “I say that without saying ‘It should have!’ I think it probably should have been in the movie, but I understood the argument against it, and at the time there was much to-ing and fro-ing about it. It's a great thing to be able to put that sort of scene on the Blu-ray and let people think of other themes and idea that were in my mind when we made that scene.”

Last month, Hood told MTV News that the scene in question “humanized” Sabretooth when he realizes that his brother, Wolverine has chosen to completely forget him.

Who Should Direct 'The Avengers' Instead Of Jon Favreau? One Of These Guys!

When Jon Favreau said he would not be available to direct "The Avengers" for Marvel, he opened the doors for speculation about who would be behind the camera.

Favreau's "Iron Man" breathed life into the current wave of Marvel films culminating in 2012's gigantic crossover event, but someone else will have to step in to bring his storyline together with "The Incredible Hulk," "The First Avenger: Captain America" and "Thor."

Here are five directors who might be able to pull it off and make the "Avengers" movie fans want to see.

Zack Snyder: Was "Watchmen" Snyder's last word in superhero movies? Its box office performance may have made that debatable, but its visual presentation was spectacular. Snyder's name sits on a short list including Brett Ratner and Bryan Singer who have tackled superhero team movies in recent years, and his name comes at the top right now.

If Marvel wants to aim for the bleachers with "The Avengers," he has to be on the table—assuming his "300" sequel comes out in time.

Neill Blomkamp: Blomkamp showed the world what he was capable of with a comparatively frugal budget this year in "District 9." Not only does he now have a high-concept, globally scaled sci-fi/action success story under his belt. He also has a hands-on special effects background including work on "Smallville," "Dark Angel" and ""Stargate SG-1."

If that doesn't look like an aligned set of credits worthy of a breakthrough shot as Marvel's biggest release of decade, they'll have a hard time finding better a better résumé—especially if they want an underdog.

Mark Fergus: Fergus may have an absolute minimum amount of directing experience, but he scripted both "Iron Man" and "Children of Men." His lone directorial effort, "First Snow" starring Guy Pearce, went to festivals and DVD with a moderately enthused reception, but his background of knowledge and understanding for the material could be enough to qualify if someone trusts him enough.

Guy Ritchie: Coming off of "Sherlock Holmes" with Robert Downey Jr., it would be interesting to hear how Ritchie would feel about reuniting with him as Tony Stark. Ritchie's movies like "Snatch" and "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" dealt with characters packaged with high-strung attitudes and deep emotional problems, so tackling the Hulk and Iron Man shouldn't be that big of a stretch.

Of course, with "Lobo" in the works, pulling double duty on "The Avengers" and DC's Main Man could be a scheduling conflict—but heck, why not?

Joss Whedon: Whedon specializes in his own projects, but if you look at the field, no director has a better established relationship with both fans and Marvel right now. "Serenity" cemented his cred for sci-fi/action, and his "Astonishing X-Men" work showed his knows how to work in the superhero genre.

No other other announcement would make waves like naming him to the "Avengers" director's chair. In fact, it just might snap the Internet in half.

Scarlett Johansson On 'Iron Man 2': 'I Think The Second One Is Even Better'

"Iron Man 2" actress Scarlett Johansson was in Munich, Germany, yesterday (Wednesday, Oct. 14) at an promotional event for the Mango clothing line, and reporters managed to wrangle a few comments out of her about the much-anticipated sequel to last year's Marvel blockbuster.

According to a report on JustJared, Johansson joked to Extra TV, "Hopefully, I won’t be crucified for saying this, but I think the second one is even better."

Well, given the reaction to images of Johansson in costume as Black Widow, early reviews seem to be pretty positive regarding her addition to the cast—though we have yet to see her alter ego, Russian super-spy Natasha Romanoff, in action.

Heck, we'll forgive Johansson the early praise for the film, seeing as how she gets to wear at least one piece (maybe more?) of the Iron Man armor. That would seal the deal for us, too.

Previously, Johansson hinted at having a "big part" in the eventual "Avengers" team-up film, but now it looks like that film will have to get made without her "Iron Man 2" director, Jon Favreau, behind the camera. Favreau had been rumored to be one of the front-runners to direct the film, which teams up Iron Man, Captain America and Thor in a big ol' superhero brawl.

SECRET IDENTITY: Five Actors Who Could Play Magneto In 'X-Men Origins: Magneto'

Given recent comments from Sir Ian McKellen about his involvement (or lack thereof) in the upcoming "X-Men Origins: Magneto" film from Fox, it's time to face the inevitable—Magneto is going to be recast. This was already a virtual certainty due to the story's purported focus on the Master of Magnetism's more youthful days, but McKellen's words confirm the need for a new, younger actor.

Recasting Magneto is difficult for a number of reasons. For one, McKellen already played him so expertly that an actor of his quality is absolutely essential—and not only that, but it'd be a good idea to find someone who looks like they could age into McKellen's likeness, which is very tricky. For that reason, I think it's more important to focus on finding an excellent, fitting actor for the role, rather than selecting an actor based on his likeness to McKellen.

When and if "X-Men Origins: Magneto" gets underway, I think any one of these five actors has what it takes to bring the magnetically-inItalicclined mutant back to the big screen.

Check out the video to see each of the actors, then read below to find out why we chose them!

ADRIEN BRODY: The Oscar-winning star of "The Piano" might not be a traditional choice to play Magneto, but Adrien Brody has more than a few things going for him. His exaggerated features are similar to McKellen's own, allowing the audience to believe that he could grow into becoming the original "X-Men" trilogy's villain.

But let's not harp too much on looks—Brody is a very talented actor that can ride the line between gentle humanitarian (or mutanitarian, I suppose) and menacing terrorist threat. I think the outcome of his upcoming performance in "Predators" will better dictate whether or not Brody can play the lead in an action-centric film, but my hunch is that he could be an excellent choice for Magneto.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT: Putting aside any personal feelings one might have about "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," you have to admit—Joseph Gordon-Levitt has come a long, long way since "10 Things I Hate About You" and "3rd Rock From The Sun."

Gordon-Levitt has exuded some serious intensity in films such as "Stop-Loss" and "Brick," a quality that's required of the eventually vicious Magneto. If Fox is aiming for a much younger Magneto, Gordon-Levitt would be an excellent pick—as long as his Cobra Commander voice stays at home, that is.

JUDE LAW: As the Watson to Robert Downey Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes, actor Jude Law is already a couple of steps removed from the comic book world. Law is a self-described comic book fan that's had a few near-misses with the medium's translation to film, most notably in his desire to play Ozymandias in "Watchmen."

If he's still up for a round in the superhero genre, Law might be a great fit for Magneto. If you're skeptical of his ability to do the part justice, I'd suggest you check out "Gattaca," the science fiction film in which Law plays an on-edge paraplegic. His performance there shows all of the intensity and humanity an actor needs to really bring Magneto's plight to a sympathetic light—watch that movie, then let me know what you think.

EWAN MCGREGOR: The Obi-Wan Kenobi of the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy is already being pushed by several fan sites for the role of Magneto. While a lot of that dream casting never pans out—including our own!—that doesn't mean the idea of Ewan McGregor as the Master of Magnetism is off the mark.

First of all, you can't debate McGregor's acting abilities, particularly after "Trainspotting" and "Big Fish." Still, the actor tends to err on the side of good guy roles—which is exactly why I think going for a morally grey character like Magneto would not only be good for McGregor as an actor, but interesting for us as an audience.

JONATHAN RHYS MEYERS: There are few young actors in the movie business that play cold and cunning better than Jonathan Rhys Meyers. If you don't believe me, check out his spine-tingling turn in Woody Allen's "Match Point" as a man that goes from trouble-free social climber to full-on sociopath. That's not quite the same journey as Magneto's—well, it might be, depending on how you view the character—but it's still a massive transformation that Meyers has proven himself capable of.

The better example is "The Tudors," the Showtime series in which Meyers plays King Henry VIII. He's often quite genial behind closed doors, but he's equally ready to throw down the gauntlet to protect and further his own agenda. As the eventual founder of the Brotherhood of Mutants, Magneto can relate to that side of Henry. Going from the ruthless historical king to hopeful leader of mutantkind wouldn't be much of a stretch for Meyers.

Secret photo reveals Darth Vader in World War 2

Indonesian artist Agan Harahap likes to create interesting political commentary by photoshopping fictional figures into famous photographs. We're not exactly sure what it's all supposed to mean, but it's pretty to look at. Our favorite is this one of Darth Vadar at the Yalta Conference in 1945.

Another good one is Batman, below, addressing paratroopers at Greenham Common Airfield in England just before they embark on the invasion of Europe. You can see the rest of his work over here. We first saw it over on The Awesomer.

Sexy Stargate Universe women pose for Steppin' Out

Stargate Universe babes Alaina Huffman and Elyse Levesque are the cover girls on this week's issue of the New York and New Jersey entertainment magazine Steppin' Out.

The actresses can also be found on the inside of the magazine, in a six-page photo feature that includes an interview—for those who can tear themselves away from the pictures.

Levesque, when asked about the possibility of any steamy love scenes for her character, Chloe Armstrong, replied:

"She has all kind of needs. It's only healthy that those needs be met."

You can check out the complete interview and read the rest of the issue over at the Steppin' Out site.

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